Western Art Display, Accompanying Lectures to be Presented at Taylor University

Published: Aug 11, 2014

The Spirit of the American West, an exhibit featuring Western art from the private collection of Taylor University friends Leland and LaRita Boren, will be presented on the Taylor campus beginning August 22 and continuing through October 5, 2014. The public is invited and there is no charge for admission.

The display will be housed in the Metcalf Gallery of the Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center at Taylor. The pieces featured in the display are holdings of The Leland and LaRita Boren Collection of Western Art. This collection includes works in oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, ink, wood, bronze, marble, and mixed media and highlights the landscapes, livestock, and people of the American west.

Of the 405 pieces in the Boren collection, 60 are being displayed during The Spirit of the American West. This is the first time select works from the collection are being widely accessible to central Indiana and beyond. 

Taylor officials say they are grateful for the support of the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc., which helped make the exhibit possible.

An opening presentation and reception in the Butz-Carruth Recital Hall of the Smith-Hermanson Music Center is scheduled Thursday, September 11, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., and will feature James Nottage, Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer, Eiteljorg Museum Museum of Native Americans and Western Art. A reception follows in the Metcalf Gallery in the Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center.

In addition, a lecture series planned to coincide with the display will feature two addresses by Native American artist and Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma Edgar Heap of Birds. Heap of Birds received his Master of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1979), his Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (1976) and has undertaken graduate studies at The Royal College of Art, London, England. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (2008).

His work has been exhibited in the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (New York), The National Gallery of Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia), Documenta, Kassal (Germany), Orchard Gallery (Derry, Northern Ireland) and many other venues worldwide.

Additional lecturers include Taylor University faculty members Dr. Tom Jones and Professor Phil Loy.

Lecture schedule:

The Humanities Go West: Engaging Activities that Connect K-12 Standards to America’s Wild West 

Tom Jones, History Department Chair, Associate Professor of History, Taylor University

Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. 

Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center, Metcalf Gallery


The Reel West: Western Film and the American Experience 

Phil Loy, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Taylor University

Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. 

Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center, Room #002


Cheyenne Tipi Making Workshop

Edgar Heap of Birds, Professor of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma

Thursday, September 25, 11:00 a.m. 

Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center, Room #008


Heads Above Grass: Provocative Native American Public Art and Studio Art Practice

Lecture by Edgar Heap of Birds

Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m. 

Smith-Hermanson Music Center, Butz-Carruth Recital Hall


Display times for The Spirit of the American West:

Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


For more information: metcalfgallery.taylor.edu

To schedule a docent-led school field trip contact:


(765) 998-5322.

Leland and LaRita Boren arrived in Upland, Indiana, in 1965 and almost immediately they immersed themselves in the Upland community and in the life of Taylor University. LaRita served on the Taylor University Board of Trustees for 34 years and virtually every significant University development during her service had her imprint. The Borens have enriched the Taylor experience for its students, faculty, and staff. LaRita once described her and Leland’s investment in the University as “stronger, . . .more far-reaching, and …of more importance than anything we can do.” LaRita passed away February 10, 2011, and Leland continues to be actively involved with Taylor.

Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc., a private foundation, was established by Allen W. Clowes, a leading philanthropist in Indianapolis, Indiana, who during his life made major contributions to various charitable organizations that promoted or preserved the fine arts, music, literature, education, science, and history.